What Are Breadcrumbs?

Aaron Haynes
Oct 21, 2021

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When it comes to SEO, there is a lot to consider.

Keywords, links, and in-depth content all have an impact on your ability to rank in the world’s most powerful search engines.

Today, it’s like competing in the fast-food industry – tacos or burgers?

What about breadcrumbs, though?

No, we’re not referring to the delicious breading for chicken parm.

Breadcrumbs are a website navigation feature that can have a significant impact on SEO and user experience.

There are still a lot of websites that do not make use of breadcrumbs, which is a huge mistake not only because they affect SEO but also because they are relatively simple to implement.

This article will break it down and help you understand what breadcrumbs are, why breadcrumbs are important, if breadcrumbs are good for SEO, and what breadcrumbs are in Google.

Let’s dive in.

What Are Breadcrumbs?

A breadcrumb is a small text path that is usually found at the top of the page and indicates where the user is on the site. This breadcrumb trail shows you exactly where you are. Every step of that path, all the way back to the homepage, is clickable. Normally, a breadcrumb navigation trail would be found at the top of the page, just below the header menu.

But why is this navigational aid referred to as a breadcrumb? The term comes from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale when they went into the woods, Hansel dropped pieces of bread on the ground to help them find their way back home if they would become lost. These breadcrumbs evolved into the model for the ones we see on websites today.

They also appear in Google search results, which you can benefit from if you add the proper form of structured data to your site. Breadcrumbs in search results provide users with an easy-to-understand overview of the page’s location on your site.

A “breadcrumb trail” or “website breadcrumb” expression refers to a secondary navigation system of a website or application. Because your breadcrumb navigation is a secondary tool to your primary navigation bar, it should not be overly large or prominent on the page.

For example, The path to the Yoast SEO plugin page on yoast.com is Home > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress.

Since 1995, Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the renowned Nielsen Norman Group, has advocated for breadcrumb navigation, citing its usefulness and efficiency: “Breadcrumbs only serve to make it easier for users to navigate the site, assuming the content and overall structure make sense. That’s a good contribution for something that only takes up one line in the design.”

From DHL’s website, here’s an example of breadcrumbs:

There are different types of breadcrumbs. The three most common are:

  • Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs

These are the most common, and they show how we use breadcrumbs on our websites. They indicate the hierarchical structure – where you are in a site structure and how many steps it takes to return to the homepage. For example. Home > Resources > SEO Guide

  • Attribute-based breadcrumbs

Attribute-based breadcrumbs are most commonly seen after a user searches on an e-commerce site, and the breadcrumb trail is made up of product page attributes, such as Home > Product Type > Gender > Size > Color. Take note of how the breadcrumb assists users in selecting various product attributes without leaving the current page.

  • History-Based Breadcrumbs

Similar to browser history, these show users what other pages on the site they have visited.

They perform the same function as the browser’s back button, allowing the user to return to one of the previous pages they visited.

For example, if you were looking for SEO news and read three different articles, your breadcrumbs might look something like this: Home > SEO Article 1 > SEO Article 2 > Current Page

Why Are Breadcrumbs Important?

There are several benefits to using these handy little pointers on your website. Let’s take a look at them:

Breadcrumbs Improve User Experience – UX

Breadcrumbs make it easier for users to navigate a website and encourage them to explore other areas of the site. It’s a convenient way to help users quickly find what they’re looking for – and, hopefully, to entice them to stay longer on your website.

Improve Site Ranking

Breadcrumbs are useful for user experience, but they also make Google happy. If you can do both, you’re living the SEO dream, right?

Breadcrumbs, according to Google, are used to categorize and contextualize content.
Google added breadcrumbs to the results pages in 2018, making them more important than ever.

Breadcrumbs in the SERPs also assist users in determining where that page is on your site, so it’s a win-win situation for SEO.

Breadcrumbs lower bounce rates

Almost no one enters a site through the homepage — it’s all about organic search. That means that any part of your website could serve as an entry point. If the selected page does not meet their needs, you must devise a method to direct them to other parts of your site.

Breadcrumbs can reduce bounce rates by providing visitors with another way to browse your site. Don’t you think it’s preferable to redirect a visitor to your homepage rather than back to Google?

A case study on Moz shows what happened when they added breadcrumbs, along with making several other changes, to a site.

Breadcrumbs FAQ

Are breadcrumbs good for SEO?

Breadcrumbs are a necessary component of an SEO-friendly website because:

In terms of SEO, breadcrumb navigation has a significant impact on user experience. It makes visitors’ browsing through site pages easier and more organic, encouraging them to stay longer and view more pages. As a result, bounce rates are decreasing, which is ultimately beneficial to SEO.

Breadcrumb links assist search engine bots during the crawling and indexing process. Crawlers can recognize breadcrumbs and may use the breadcrumb structure to learn more about a web page or site.

Breadcrumb markup in the body of a webpage can assist Google Search in identifying the content and better matching the search query. When using markup for the breadcrumb separator, however, it’s critical to make it a decorative element so that screen reader users don’t announce it as text.

What are breadcrumbs in Google?

According to Google, a breadcrumb trail on a page indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy, and it may assist users in effectively understanding and exploring a site. By beginning with the last breadcrumb in the breadcrumb trail, a user can navigate all the way up the site hierarchy, one level at a time.

Should I enable breadcrumbs?

People hate being lost. When presented with a new area, individuals frequently look around for recognized items or landmarks — and websites are no exception. When you enable and implement breadcrumbs, you keep visitors happy and reduce friction as much as possible. Breadcrumbs help to improve user experience in your web pages since they are a common interface element that instantly shows people a way out. There is no need to navigate back to the previous page!

Add the breadcrumb list schema to the Webdesign to ensure Google displays your breadcrumb in the search snippet. To add a breadcrumbs navigational path to your site, you can use HTML coding or work with the navigational settings of a website template.

Go to SEO -> Search Appearance in your WordPress dashboard to enable breadcrumbs. In the upper right corner of the screen, you’ll notice a tag labeled “Breadcrumbs.” Breadcrumbs are now enabled by swiping the “Disabled” button to the left.

You can also use the PHP function to add the breadcrumbs directly to your theme’s template files.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.

Improve Your Site Ranking Using Breadcrumbs

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of breadcrumbs.

Breadcrumb navigation can greatly improve the way users find their way around on large websites with a lot of pages.

Breadcrumbs improve the findability of website sections and pages usability by reducing the number of actions a website visitor needs to take to get to a higher-level page.

They are also an effective visual aid for indicating the user’s location within the website’s hierarchy, making them an excellent source of contextual information for landing pages.

Are you having a difficult time implementing breadcrumbs on your website? At Loganix, we can assist you to optimize your web pages, allow a great user experience for your target audience, and reduce your bounce rates.

Reach out to us today!

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

Explore Services

Written by Aaron Haynes on October 21, 2021

CEO and partner at Loganix, I believe in taking what you do best and sharing it with the world in the most transparent and powerful way possible. If I am not running the business, I am neck deep in client SEO.